Heishindo Merchant House
Tsuruoka City, in Yamagata Prefecture, was once the heart of the Shonai Domain, a warrior clan that pledged loyalty to the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo Period (1603-1868). After the Boshin War had defeated the shogunate system, the Shonai Clan samurais were referred to as renegades. To get rid of their bad reputation and restore its old clan's honor, they decided to take part in the new government's industrial effort and chose to put every bit of their energy into silk-farming. They wanted to control every step of the fabrication process: from the cultivation of mulberry leaves for the silkworms to feed on to weaving to the manufacture of finished products.
In 2017, the samurais' silk farms: Matsugaoka's Silk farms were registered as a "Japan Heritage." Today, visitors can see the machines used for more than 150 years and still active and discover how our samurais worked, since we always use the same techniques. The history of Tsuruoka's silk and the transmission of ancestral knowledge were some of the reasons why Matsugaoka became a Japan Heritage.
At Matsugaoka's Silk Farms, visitors can discover in the "Archive Building" (shiryôkan 資料館) how the Samurai Silk is still produced by visiting the differents wooden buildings that compose this 19th-century historical site.